Critical Reading>Select an Answer
My young pupils entered the apartment, with their two younger sisters. Master Tom Bloomfield was a well-grown boy of seven, with a somewhat wiry frame, flaxen hair, blue eyes, small turned-up nose, and fair complexion. Mary Ann was a tall girl too, somewhat dark like her mother, but with a round full face and a high colour in her cheeks. The second sister was Fanny, a very pretty little girl; Mrs. Bloomfield assured me she was a remarkably gentle child, and required encouragement: she had not learned anything yet; but in a few days, she would be four years old, and then she might take her first lesson in the alphabet, and be promoted to the schoolroom. The remaining one was Harriet, a little broad, fat, merry, playful thing of scarcely two, that I coveted more than all the rest -- but with her I had nothing to do.
I talked to my little pupils as well as I could, and tried to render myself aGREeable; but with little success I fear, for their mother's presence kept me under an unpleasant restraint. They, however, were remarkably free from shyness. They seemed bold, lively children, and I hoped I should soon be on friendly terms with them -- the little boy especially, of whom I had heard such a favourable character from his mamma. In Mary Ann there was a certain affected simper, and a craving for notice, that I was sorry to observe. But her brother claimed all my attention to himself; he stood bolt upright between me and the fire, with his hands behind his back, talking away like an orator, occasionally interrupting his discourse with a sharp reproof to his sisters when they made too much noise.
"Oh, Tom, what a darling you are!" exclaimed his mother. "Come and kiss dear mamma; and then won't you show Miss GREy your schoolroom, and your nice new books?"
"I won't kiss you, mamma; but I will show Miss GREy my schoolroom, and my new books."
"And my schoolroom, and my new books, Tom," said Mary Ann. "They're mine too."
"They're mine," replied he decisively.
Based on the passage, which choice most clearly describes the narrator's impression of the Bloomfield family?
(A) She gathers that some of the children receive more encouragement than the others do.
(B) She recognizes that the children are timid around their mother and will need reassurance and guidance.
(C) She observes that the children seem to have been taught to treat adults with respect.
(D) She suspects that the children are only pretending to be excited about the schoolroom because their mother is present.
Choice A is the best answer. Miss GREy's observations of her new charges suggests that she thinks the Bloomfield children receive different levels of encouragement. Miss GREy mentions that Mrs. Bloomfield has spoken "such a favourable character" of Tom. Mary Ann, on the other hand, has an "affected simper," or a deliberate and exaggerated ingratiating manner, and a "craving for notice." Overall, it seems Tom receives frequent attention and encouragement while Mary Ann strives for but doesn't always receive supportive attention.